Tuesday, September 29, 2020

We All Pretend

There comes a time when you have to ask yourself whether people like who you really are or who you pretend to be. We all pretend, in one way or another. We pretend to be interested in things we are not, or to possess qualities that we know we don’t.

We usually pretend so that we can be accepted. Whether trying to attract the interest of a pretty girl or to get the dream job, we all pretend. We usually pretend to present a more acceptable version of ourselves to others.

The truth is that pretence is an inescapable reality of human interaction, because people are too judgemental for us all to be completely honest with each other. Infact, making a good first impression is usually dependent on atleast a little deception. There are many people who are convinced that the key to a successful intimate relationship is complete honesty. The reality is that the majority of couples wouldn’t last past the first date if they were to be completely honest with each other at such an early stage. In order to be more honest with someone about who you really are, you need to build trust, and trust is built up over time. Even after years of intimacy there will probably still be things that you’d rather not reveal to your partner.

Ask yourself this, how many people are there in your life, around whom you can completely be yourself? I mean genuinely just be yourself, without all the social pressures to conform to a certain way of thinking and talking. People who you feel comfortable enough to interact with without having to second guess everything you want to say before it comes out of your mouth. I bet you can count them on one hand, that is if you are being honest with yourself.

The problem with telling one lie about who we are is that it creates a precedent for more lies. We create a situation in which we need to tell more lies to reinforce the first one and, before you know it you’ve created a completely wrong impression of yourself. Of course this is a rather extreme scenario, but it is one founded in reality. We are all acutely aware that we live in such a judgemental world that the average person is willing to write you off completely, once they discover a single thing they do not like about you.

So we put on masks, we hide our true faces behind the painted image that we believe the people around us would rather see. We’re afraid of being alienated by our peers and society at large so we try our best to fit in to the widely accepted norms, even if it means concealing our true identities in a thick blanket of deception. The irony is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the fear that drives each of us to conform actually works to turn us against each other. There is no ominous voice in the heavens telling us how to behave. The truth is that we’re all just afraid of each other; at a deeper level we’re all just afraid of being alone. The single thing every human being craves is acceptance, and it is this very desire that reduces us to being no better than sheep.

Take a long hard look at yourself. Ask yourself what the people who you associate with on a daily basis, the people you call your friends; know about the person you are. Then ask yourself how much of it is true. You might realise that you have to begin by finding out who you truly are, yourself. The painful reality is that we often spend so much of our time trying to be the person we believe everybody wants us to be that we forget to take time to find out who we really are. The only way to do this is to write down your thoughts; whatever they may be, just write down your thoughts. Whether it is your fears, your hopes, your failures, your successes, your regrets, your achievements, just write them down.

Write about your experiences, your feelings, your observations. There is an entire world locked inside your mind clamouring to be let loose. You’re the only one who can set it free. Or you could just try being yourself the next time your in a situation in which you’d usually just pretend, you may be surprised at the results. You can spend your whole life trying to be everything you’re not, but in the end it’s the unique characteristics you often to try to hide that separate you from the herd and make you the person you truly are.

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Read this week's paper

The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.